Government listens only to violence - claim

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The government came under fire at an e-tolls hearing in Johannesburg, with the public accusing it of paying attention only when there is violence. File Photo by Thobile Mathonsi.

Johannesburg - The government came under fire at an e-tolls hearing in Johannesburg on Thursday, with the public accusing it of paying attention only when there is violence.

“You are using scare tactics to get us to agree to e-tolls. Government never takes people seriously except when tyres are burnt and cars stoned,” a resident told representatives of the department of transport and the SA National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) at the public hearing in Sunninghill.

Last month, the government and Sanral announced new tariffs for the e-tolling of Gauteng's freeways.

The announcement, made on October 26, marked the beginning of a 30-day public consultation process, after which Transport Minister Ben Martins would have a fortnight to “apply his mind”, followed by another fortnight to gazette the final tariffs.

This means e-tolls could come into effect four days before Christmas.

“You are going to see gantries on fire and highways stoned because you do not listen,” another resident told the hearing.

Residents said they would do everything they could to oppose the e-tolls.

“We will protest, revolt and even sleep on the freeways to show our anger.”

National Treasury representative Marissa Moore said there was a R150 billion backlog on road maintenance, and that the government had borrowed money to invest in and implement e-tolls.

“The system is meant to lessen congestion on the freeways by charging a fee for usage.

“The aim is to get people into the public road system,” she said. - Sapa


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